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Walking Club: Exploring Folly Farm Nature Preserve in Safety Harbor

Walking Club: Exploring Folly Farm Nature Preserve in Safety Harbor
Posted at 8:21 AM, Aug 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-20 06:54:00-04

SAFETY HARBOR, Fla. — Many of us are looking for ways to remain active while also staying a safe distance away from others. That's why Sarah Phinney started a ‘Walking Club’ to highlight some hidden, and some not so hidden, trails and parks across Tampa Bay.

Magic is in the air at Folly Farm Nature Preserve in Safety Harbor. Take your time exploring all the small, special details at this family-friendly spot.

Where is it?

Folly Farm Nature Preserve can be found just about a mile away from downtown Safety Harbor.

Put this address in your phone before you head out the door:

1562 Dr Martin Luther King Jr Street North
Safety Harbor, FL 34695

Folly Farm stretches about 10 acres and was formerly a horse farm owned by George Weiss. In 2014, it was donated to the City of Safety Harbor.

Folly Farm Nature Preserve opened to the public in 2017.

“We were very fortunate, we have a very generous benefactor by the name of George Weiss. He donated all the land to us and since then it’s just been a big hit in the city,” said Safety Harbor Mayor Joe Ayoub.

What’s there?

Wandering around Folly Farm is the best way to discover it. You’ll quickly come across the beautiful butterfly gardens.

“We’ve developed it to the point where we think we have the best butterfly garden in Pinellas County,” said Gary Sawtelle, Site Beautification Technician.

According to Sawtelle, the Safety Harbor Garden Club and City of Safety Harbor formed a partnership at Folly Farm a little over a year ago.

“They provided us a place to play in the gardens, including supplies and tools, and we supply the gardening, the weeding and the pruning and it’s the best partnership!” said Sawtelle.

Don’t be surprised if you see members wearing gnome hats during your visit. It’s all part of the fun!

“We consider ourselves garden gnomes out here in Folly Farm,” said Sawtelle.

In addition to the butterfly gardens, there is a short gravel nature trail, gazebo, playground, community orchard and wind phone.

“The wind phone is a phone that connects you with people who have passed,” said Sawtelle. “You can get on the phone and pick it up and have conversations with those people that you miss.”

Sawtelle says the wind phone at Folly Farm is the only one in Florida and people come to the park just for that.

There’s also a walking meditative labyrinth.

“We have a butterfly labyrinth,” Sawtelle said. “It’s 420 linear feet and you can get lost in it for a second. It’s pretty nice.”

When should I visit?

Folly Farm Nature Preserve is open seven days a week, 365 days a year from dawn until dusk.

People who are interested in helping out with the gardens at Folly Farm should visit the park on Monday mornings. Sawtelle says they gather pretty early during the summer like 7 or 8 am.

“When you’re in this park, you’re gonna get a smile on your face, you’re gonna exhale and if you do see people walking around, they’re gonna be nice,” said Sawtelle.

Join Walking Club!

Post photos of your adventures, ask questions and learn about upcoming Walking Club stories in Sarah’s Walking Club group on Facebook!

You can also keep up with Sarah on Instagram and Twitter